After initially being snubbed as a starter in the All Star Game, Joel Embiid was recently announced as a replacement in the starting lineups for the injured Kevin Durant.
But as he deals with a smaller injury and likely has bigger goals, Embiid said himself on Wednesday that he may not play in the game, according to The Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck:
Here’s why it would be safe and smart for the big man to sit out All-Star weekend.
Nagging Foot Injury
For the past few weeks, Embiid has been questionable in just about every game due to a foot injury.
And in some, he was even a game-time decision.
While he did end up playing in almost all of those games, now is the time to recover while he can.
The All-Star break is just about the only chance for players to get more than a few days of rest. To prevent further injury, Embiid should be sitting out All-Star weekend and rehabbing his injury to his best ability.
That could even extend into the second half of the season. Load management has become extremely popular for NBA stars dealing with injuries, and Embiid is known for getting injured because of his height, physicality and weight.
All-Star Weekend Losing Its Shine
Overall, the NBA All-Star Game is still a good time. But as the years go on, many fans have been more critical of how different events are run and who participates in them.
For example, the Dunk Contest no longer has some of the biggest names in basketball. No offense to KJ Martin, Mac McClung, Trey Murphy III and Jericho Sims, but most fans want to see a dunk contest with superstars involved.
The All Star Game, which is on Sunday, is no different. Of course the superstars will be playing, but for most of the game, it is a loose, no-defense, pickup style of basketball that doesn’t actually matter.
For players like Embiid, there’s really no incentive to be playing with a nagging injury. While playing in the game may be a good time and some entertainment for fans, he wouldn’t be getting anything from it but risking more injury.
Embiid should be more focused on a successful second half of the season.
Health for Stretch Run + Playoffs
At the end of the day, the Philadelphia 76ers are competing for nothing but a championship. This roster and front office is all-in on getting a ring for Embiid and company. That should be kept in mind for this weekend.
The 76ers are the third seed in the Eastern Conference going into the break, and three games back on the Celtics for the first seed. Every year, they seem to be a step behind Milwaukee, Boston and others in their title run.
While there’s certainly reason to be cautious, this may be the best chance in the Embiid era to get a championship. Risking further injury would be foolish, as one Embiid injury could derail the entire season.
The 76ers have had a whole lot of bad luck in the playoffs with Embiid. They’ve had some of the worst benches in the league come playoff time. Year after year, Ben Simmons’ lack of shooting was exposed in the postseason. Embiid and others couldn’t stay healthy.
Staying healthy is a key part to winning a title. With an improved roster, solid bench and currently healthy squad, the 76ers should be cautious for the rest of the season.
This doesn’t just apply to All-Star weekend, either. Embiid and James Harden should be load-managed effectively to be healthy for the playoffs. As much as it may ruin some regular season games, they need them both healthy.
At the end of the day, Embiid and the Sixers have big goals. If Embiid wants to compete for a ring, or even be in contention for an MVP award by the end of the year, sitting out Sunday’s game is the clear answer.
Featured image courtesy of Tim Nwachuwku/Getty Images
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